Bottle Feeding

The right baby bottle can be a new parent's best friend.  Pacifying a cranky baby with wholesome nutrition is a great feeling.  Before you settle in to feed your baby his or her first bottle, read on to master the fine art of bottle feeding.  Once you're done with this page, check out the National Network for Childcare's instructions.

The Bottle

Whether you are feeding your baby breast milk (obtained with a breast pump) or infant formula, you're going to need baby bottles. Here are a few things you should know about these simple containers:
* Bottles are typically capable of holding between 150 and 270 ml. (4-12 oz) of fluid.
* Babies under 6 months should have sterilized bottles.
* A good bottle should be able to tighten easily, and not leak!
* Plastic, glass, with liner, without liner, and color are all a matter of personal preference. Give your baby a couple of options and use whichever one works best.


While you probably know that breastfeeding is best for your baby (to read more on this topic visit the CDC's website), you may choose to use formula for supplemental or personal reasons. This is a perfectly acceptable choice, as baby formula is highly regulated by the FDA to ensure it's safe and nutritious. Here are the four kinds of baby formula available on the market today.

Milk-Based Vs. Soy-Based

When choosing between the milk-based and the soy-based formulas, you should know that milk-based is most recommended by doctors because it most closely resembles the nutritious content in breast milk. Keep in mind, that the milk has been modified to provide more vitamins and minerals and to make the digestion process easier. You should not feed other milk products to your baby until he or she has reached one year of age or your health care provider has given you the green light.

If you suspect that your baby is allergic to cow's milk, soy milk may be an acceptable alternative. Like the milk-based formula, the soy content has been modified for better nutrition and easier digestion. Consult your doctor before using the soy formula, as your baby may well be allergic to this variety as well.

For babies with severe allergies and digestion problems, hydrolysate formulas are available. This semi-hypoallergenic variety contains proteins that have been broken down to make digestion easier for babies who struggle with the milk-based or soy formula.

Other Items

* You will definitely need a bottle brush to clean your bottles and nipples.
* You may want to purchase a steam sterilizer if you don't picture yourself cleaning and scrubbing bottles all day long.
* Dishwasher baskets are a great invention for gathering up all the nipples and bottle lids and preventing them from ending up at the bottom of the dishwasher.
* Many parents swear by bottle warmers. These are not a necessity, but they do serve a function of bring baby's bottle to the just-right temperature. Stove warming can be hit or miss.
* Small coolers or insultated bags are often useful for toting baby's meal.